Only 30 percent of the 1,278 high-school seniors who
applied for early decision this year were accepted. The number
represents approximately 35 percent of the Class of 2008. This
year marks the lowest early decision acceptance rate in over
five years and comes a year after a record-low overall
acceptance rate of 17.5 percent for the class of 2007.
Of the 384 students accepted early into the Class of 2008,
there are 14 more females than males, and a record high 22
international students, comprising nearly 6 percent of the
The mean SAT verbal score for the Class of 2008's early
acceptances was 709, while the SAT math score rose to 718.
Dartmouth legacies comprised 13.5 percent of the accepted
students with 52 legacy early acceptances, even though
legacies made up just 9 percent of the early applicant pool.
Students of color made up 18 percent of the early acceptances;
just 13 percent of early applicants were minorities.
Approximately one-third of those who applied early received
rejection letters when the envelopes went to students' homes
in early December. Those not immediately accepted or rejected
-- also approximately one-third of applicants -- were
deferred, meaning their applications will be reviewed again in
the regular admissions process. Deferred students should not
hold out hope for admission, as Dartmouth normally take around
5 to 10 percent of the students from the deferral pool.
Dartmouth mailed out a staggeringly high number of
rejection letters Friday to applicants for the Class of 2008,
as only 18.3 percent of the 11,733 students who applied were
admitted -- a number similar to last year's record-low 18.2
percent admission rate.
Of the 10,000 regular decision applicants, the admission
rate was just 16.8 percent.
Of the 2,143 students accepted to the Class of 2008, 384
were accepted under early decision.
Average SAT scores was 1457, with SAT verbal score at 726,
and the mean SAT math score at 731.
92 percent of students were ranked in the top 10 percent of
their high-school class, and 34.1 percent were valedictorians.
International student acceptances held near last year's
recent high, comprising 7.7 percent of admitted students.
Students of color dropped off a little from last year's record
high, constituting 36.7 percent of '08 acceptances.
African Americans made up 9.1 percent of acceptances, and
Asian Americans 16.1 percent. Latinos held steady at 7.5
percent of acceptances and so did Native Americans and
multi-racial students, with 2.9 and 1.1 percent respectively
This year, women dominate with the largest-ever proportion
of admits at 51.1 percent.
At a five-year high, 64.5 percent of admitted students come
from public high schools, and 55 percent come from outside the
Northeast region, compared to 53 percent last year.
Six percent of acceptances -- approximately 130 students --
are Dartmouth legacies.
Dartmouth accepted 44.6 percent of African Americans who
applied -- 2.5 times higher than the overall rate of 18.3
percent. Native Americans were accepted at 34.6 percent and
Latinos at 29 percent. White students, on the other hand, had
a more difficult time getting accepted; only 16.2 percent of
white, non-international students received letters of
This kind of racial preference has white students crying
foul. The Supreme Court approved last summer the consideration
of race in college admissions after two white appellants sued
the University of Michigan for discrimination. The petitioners
alleged that the University's use of racial preferences in
undergraduate admissions violated the Equal Protection Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964.
The resulting decisions handed down by the Supreme Court
found that race could legally be used as a factor in
admissions decisions, but not in the specific way it was used
by the undergraduate school. In the majority opinion in the
Michigan law school case, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor declared
that the Constitution "does not prohibit the law school's
narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to
further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational
benefits that flow from a diverse student body."
Former University of California Regent Ward Connerly has
been one of the nation's most vocal opponents of race in
higher education for years. Connerly lead the successful push
in California to pass Proposition 209, banning racial
preference in California. Connerly now heads the American
Civil Rights Institute, based in Sacramento, Calif., which
continues to fight nationwide for the end of racial preference
and educational reform.
"Race has been a factor for all of history in the U.S. It's
what led to the Civil War," ACRI Director of Public Affairs
Diane Schacterle said. "There are better ways to determine
disadvantaged students. Your first consideration should always
be merit. If you're looking for disadvantaged students you're
doing it backward."
The ACRI and many other groups fighting racial preference
nationwide propose replacing the consideration of race with a
consideration of financial background in order to achieve
diversity through race-neutral means.
But not all minorities are receiving preference. The number
of Asian American college applicants has grown substantially
over the last decade, so that Asian Americans no longer
receive a significant preference for being a minority
sub-population. Asian Americans applying for the Class of 2008
at Dartmouth enjoyed just a four percent boost over the
average applicant, being accepted at a rate of 22.8 percent.
This is partially attributable to the higher number of
Asian American applicants compared to the other minority
groups. A record 1,513 Asian Americans applied for a spot in
the Class of 2008, compared to just 437 African Americans.
While Connerly and other opponents of racial consideration
of any kind use the argument of fairness to make their point,
proponents of the use of race also argue that it is a question
of fairness--fairness for those who have not had as much
opportunity in their lives.